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Issue 6 (1-22-02)
From Conflicts to Calming —
Pedestrian and Bicycle Research is Being Applied

This issue highlights new information resources on research related to walking and bicycling, and how it is applied. The resources we examine include research on engineering and design of facilities; planning of facilities and services; and, research to explore the most effective methods for law enforcement agencies, behavioral research, and research related to health and safety education of pedestrians and cyclists.

law enforcement
pedestrian / bicyclist / motorist behavior
home zones


The Effects of Traffic Calming Measures on Pedestrian and Motorist Behavior. Herman Huang and Michael Cynecki. Washington, D.C. : Federal Highway Administration, 2001. FHWA RD-00-104. Full text is available at: http://www.walkinginfo.org/rd/for_ped.htm#calm

How do pedestrians really act when they try to cross the street? Do drivers stop more often for pedestrians if there is a flashing warning light at a crosswalk? The authors of this report went to eight cities around the United States, and observed how drivers and walkers behaved in areas where traffic calming devices like bulbouts, raised crosswalks and intersections, refuge islands, and speed humps had been installed. Instead of focusing on the speeds the numbers of vehicles, the authors of this study looked at motorist yielding and pedestrian crossing behavior. This report is part of a national-level research effort to evaluate the operational and safety effects of pedestrian treatments, such as traffic calming, crosswalks, sidewalks, automated pedestrian detection, and illuminated push buttons.

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Pedestrian Facilities Users Guide Providing Safety and Mobility. Zegeer, C., C. Seiderman, P. Lagerwey, M. Cynecki, M. Ronkin, and R. Schneider. Washington, D.C. : Federal Highway Administration, 2002. Full text at: http://www.walkinginfo.org/rd/for_ped.htm#guide

Pedestrian Facilities Users Guide Providing Safety and Mobility is intended primarily for engineers, planners, safety professionals, and decisionmakers, but it may also be used by citizens for identifying pedestrian tools to improve the safety and mobility of those who walk. The purpose of this guide is to provide useful information on how to identify safety and mobility needs and improve conditions for pedestrians within the roadway right-of-way.

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Safety Effects of Unmarked vs. Marked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Locations. Zegeer, C., J. Stuart, and H. Huang. Washington, D.C. : Federal Highway Administration, 2001. Full text at: http://www.walkinginfo.org/rd/devices.htm#cros1

Pedestrians are legitimate users of the transportation system, and they should, therefore, be able to use this system safely and without unreasonable delay. Crossing streets can be a difficult task with our current system of streets and highways, particularly for children, older adults, and people with disabilities. Providing marked crosswalks has traditionally been one measure used in an attempt to facilitate crossings. However, there have been conflicting studies and much controversy regarding the safety effects of marked crosswalks. Marked crosswalks are commonly used at intersections and sometimes at midblock locations. This study evaluated marked crosswalks at uncontrolled locations and offers guidelines for their use.


Law Enforcement:

NHTSA's Safety Countermeasures Division web site, posts a list of safety initiatives for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists that were developed in cooperation with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC), the Federal Highway Administration, and the National Bicycle Safety Network (NBSN). These include development of a bikeability checklist for communities, a new initiative on safety education for bicyclists, a training module for bicycle patrol officers that information on helmet use, safe riding practices, enforcement strategies and the role of law enforcement in promoting safe bicycling.

For pedestrians, an interagency agreement will convene a working group of law enforcement leaders representing communities with high visibility pedestrian law enforcement programs. The working group will identify current best practices and recommend training and technical assistance to encourage and help other law enforcement agencies to expand their pedestrian safety efforts. The Law Enforcement Pedestrian Safety manual will be updated to include more information on law enforcement strategies and best practices, a marketing plan for promoting pedestrian safety to law enforcement agencies, and recommendations for new materials.

For more on how research in law enforcement is being implemented, and for news of ongoing research projects, go to NHTSA's web site.


Pedestrian / Bicyclist / Motorist Behavior:

Road Safety Research Report No. 20: Alcohol and Pedestrians. London: United Kingdom Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, 2001. Full text at: http://www.roads.dtlr.gov.uk/roadsafety/aap/index.htm

Walking is the oldest method of transportation, and alcohol is one of the oldest drugs still in use by humans. Casualties that occur to people who have drunk too much and then try to walk from one place to another have long been recounted in folk tales and popular literature. From the 1960's onward, scientific researchers have tried to document the phenomenon. It is a difficult problem to control, because the behavior of people who habitually drink too much cannot easily be controlled by legislation or in other ways. This report presents the results from three separate, but linked studies, on various aspects of alcohol and adult pedestrians. They are: a controlled study of the role of alcohol in fatal adult pedestrian accidents in the West Midlands; a controlled study of the role of alcohol in adult pedestrian accidents in Cardiff; and a footpath survey in Cardiff. The method, results and discussion are presented separately for each study.

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"Berkeley Flag-Wavers: Pedestrians have New Intersection Safety Devices." Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle. Thursday, December 13, 2020

Berkeley, California, a city widely known as a center for pacifists, has given official support to flag-waving, not by patriots but by pedestrians. This newspaper article highlights the application of conspicuity research on the safety of pedestrians. With a high number of pedestrian casualties in recent years, the city started a pilot program that allows those on foot to carry bright orange flags when crossing the street. The idea is to make sure that pedestrians are more conspicuous to drivers, especially at busy intersections where there is rarely a break in traffic. Under the program that will be in place at ten intersections, the orange banners — technically,a water ski flag — are placed in yellow holders on both sides of the street. Pedestrians take one, cross the street and leave it in the holder on the other side. It will cost the city $500 to maintain each flag-equipped intersection. City officials acknowledge that some people might steal the flags, but these can easily be replaced at a cost of $1.20 each. By the end of the first day of the pilot program, most of the flags were still in place. A Berkeley city traffic engineer said the city might ultimately change the color of the flags from orange to a fluorescent yellow or green.

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National Bicycle Safety Education Curriculum. McLean, Virginia : Federal Highway Administration, 2001. Full text at: http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/pdf/r&d/FHWA.pdf

Educators who must find bicycle safety education programs can use the Resource Catalogue. It describes programs that are easily accessible and focus on the most critical content areas in bicycle safety education. The Catalogue's Curriculum Matrix helps to find entry numbers for programs that address specific topical and target audience needs.



"The Marriage of Safety and Land-Use Planning: A Fresh Look at Local Roadways." By Aida Berkovitz. Public Roads, September/October 2001. Full text at: http://www.tfhrc.gov/pubrds/septoct01/marriage.htm

With the passage of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) in 1998, Congress for the first time required that states and metropolitan planning
organizations (MPOs) incorporate safety and security as criteria in their respective planning processes and activities. However, because TEA-21 did not contain any
language explaining or further describing the role that safety and security have in the transportation planning process, the states, MPOs, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) were left to decide what this meant and how the states and MPOs would address it.

In this article, safety is defined in terms that will help planners, engineers, and other traffic safety professionals see the major role that land-use planning plays in reducing fatalities and injuries resulting from traffic-related crashes, particularly for pedestrians and bicyclists. A national focus on the safety of local roadways is needed, and mixed land use and smart-growth policies can ultimately result in safer local roadways through the use of appropriate designs and slower speeds.


Home Zones:

What is a home zone? In the United Kingdom, a home zone is a street or group of streets designed primarily to meet the interests of pedestrians and cyclists rather than motorists, opening up the street for social use. The key to creating a home zone is to develop street design that makes drivers feel it is normal to drive slowly and carefully. Key features often include traffic calming, shared surfaces, trees and planters, benches and play areas. Home zones are common and popular in many European countries.

Home Zones — Planning and Design. London: United Kingdom Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, 2001. Full text of case studies of recent projects in England and Wales are presented at. http://www.roads.dtlr.gov.uk/roadnetwork/ditm/tal/traffic/10_01/index.htm

The United Kingdom's Transport Act of 2000 makes provisions for home zone projects. Local authorities are developing nine home zones in England and Wales that are supported by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR). The DTLR has commissioned the U.K. Transport Research Laboratory, Ltd to monitor the pilot projects. Elements being measured include traffic volume, speed and displacement, environmental improvement, street activity and changing attitudes. The local authorities are using a range of approaches to implement these home zones. Nine pilot home zone projects are planned or in progress.

The Home Zone News web site http://www.homezonenews.org.uk/, is maintained by the Children’s Play Council. It gives details of home zone developments throughout the UK. It includes the UK pilot home zone projects under construction as well as independent initiatives.



Content for PBIC Currents is selected, edited and compiled by Mary Ellen Tucker, M.L.S., Librarian at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, and reviewed by Charles Zegeer, P.E., Director of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC). Copy editing responsibilities and web site design are managed by Katherine Hanburger.

Selection and Contents Notes: We do not list commercial, for-profit sites. Content is selected and evaluated according to the following criteria: relevance to subject area, technical accuracy of content and accompanying graphical material, and ease of use to a wide variety of readers.

What is PBIC Currents? PBIC Currents is a current awareness service of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. Each month's issue focuses on a specially chosen topic, and presents the newest and most useful material from around the world.

Who is it for? PBIC Currents is for all members of the bicycling and walking community - users, advocates, educators, technical specialists, health care providers, planners, and anyone else who has an interest in promoting a safe and healthy environment for bicyclists and pedestrians. Enjoy!

Let us hear from you! Send comments to us at: pbic@pedbikeinfo.org